If you get some free time, I’d like your advice on something. My husband and I have been married about 20 years, and things have been getting progressively worse. He has never hit me, but he is very verbally and emotionally abusive.

I did leave once, about 10 years ago, and came back. It was okay for a while, then back to normal. We’ve both been married before. I have a married son from my first marriage. My husband and I together have a son and a daughter, 16 and 12.

I strongly considered divorce, but since I’ve been there before, I naturally have fears about going through it again. This husband would be vindictive, I’m sure, and he seems to be so set on me not “getting anything that belongs to him.”

I’m not worried about the stuff. I would want to be sure I can meet the needs of my two kids at home. What is the best way to bring up divorce in a way that he would know I mean business, yet in a way that would keep me and the kids safe if he got really ticked off?

Is there a way of having the two of us sitting together in a lawyer’s office and having the lawyer bring up subject?

~ Olivia

Olivia, a woman told us her husband was secretly drugging her to have sex while she was powerless. Our answer to her was simple: get out of the house and notify the authorities. She wrote again and said, “Are you crazy?” As if we were crazy for pointing out the danger she was in.

People are so self-deceiving, they cannot understand the risk when they are sleeping with the enemy or dancing with danger. Just how could you trick your husband into a lawyer’s office and have the lawyer say what you are afraid to say?

You skirt the issue in your letter, as if afraid to plainly state, “I am afraid. I am afraid to do what my fear requires me to do.” You haven’t contacted a nonprofit or government agency, or any safe haven for abused women. Nor did you say you contacted the police.

What is your chief problem? You are imprisoned by the lack of knowledge. But you can free yourself by getting informed. Yes, you should absolutely act on the side of caution. But now, you cannot assess and adequately respond to the risk you and the children are under. In addition, you don’t know your rights or your children’s rights, as his offspring.

We are not lawyers so we cannot dispense legal advice. What we can say is we agree with going to an attorney. But do not advise or inform your husband. Go by yourself and get educated on your rights. What your husband threatens has no legal standing, and he speaks solely as an abusive man.

You, like everyone else, know about groups that help women in peril. Though it is difficult, realize and accept that you are one of them. This issue wasn’t dealt with 10 years ago, which makes it harder to deal with now, because you went back to a verbally and emotionally abusive husband. You are in danger. Say it out loud.

“How do I get someone else to tell him?” is not the problem. Accepting what you must do is. Have a lawyer evaluate your position, consult professionals who deal with abusers every day, and get to safety.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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